Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd v Fox and Ors

Initially, in Fox v Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd. amp. Ors [2008] NSWCA 23, the Court of Appeals assessed the trial judge’s conclusion of whether Mr. Brian Fox, had contributory negligence, given that he then knew that the pipe was not attached to the waste bin. The trial judge (Gibb DCJ) held that Mr. Fox was liable for contributory negligence in at least 25% and the evidence may have justified a greater percentage (Fox v Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd. amp. Ors [2008]). The trial judge also concluded that Warren Stewart Pty Ltd, a company subcontracted by Downsview Pty Ltd to carry out the concrete pumping, was liable to Mr. Fox in the amount of $472,561.95 in damages (Fox v Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd. amp. Ors [2008]). The trial court, however, concluded that Leighton and Downview were not liable. Warren Stewart Pty Ltd did not appeal this decision. However, Mr. Fox appealed against the dismissal of his claims against Leighton and Downsview. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, and essentially upheld the liability of both Leighton and Downsview which the Court said were each subject to a common law duty of care for the benefit of Mr. Fox and that each was in breach of that duty (Fox v Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd. amp. Ors [2008]). Hence, judgment was made against Leighton and Downsview in the sum of $472,562. In tackling the liability of Leighton as a principal contractor, the Court explained that the circumstances in which one party will be responsible for the negligent acts of a third party is determined by the law in accordance with principles which are neither precise nor clearly defined in terms of underlying policy (Fox v Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd. amp. Ors [2008], par 32) It explained that a commercial enterprise may owe a duty of care to a third party directly, or it may be vicariously liable for the acts of persons by whom it undertakes its operations (Fox v Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd. amp. Ors [2008], par 32). Les in which one party will be responsible for the negligent acts of a